Pryor scores 28 as Robert Morris moves into 1st-place tie in NEC
Robert Morris junior guard Rodney Pryor had Fairleigh Dickinson coach Greg Herenda shaking his head at times during the second half of Thursday's Northeast Conference game at Sewall Center, and for good reason.
It seemed every time Fairleigh Dickinson made a run at Robert Morris, Pryor drained a deep 3-pointer. He did it three times, finished with a game- and career-high 28 points to lead the Colonials to an 87-65 victory.
The Colonials (11-10, 7-2), coupled with Bryant's loss at St. Francis (Pa.), sit in a first-place tie with St. Francis Brooklyn, which rallied to defeat Mount St. Mary's in overtime. The Colonials host Bryant, which is tied for third, at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Pryor, who hit five 3-pointers, finished 7 for 10 from the field and had a career-high 11 rebounds.
“When they went zone, their zone wasn't that great so I knew I was going to have some good looks,” Pryor said, whose previous high was 26 points at Bradley on Nov. 19. “Then in the second half when I saw one go in and then the second, I knew it was going to be that type of night.”
Pryor, who had been struggling in the conference from the 3-point line (10 for 34), was 5 for 8. He missed much of the past two seasons while recovering from foot and knee surgeries and said getting back to rehabbing his legs was the key.
“I felt my legs were getting pretty weak,” he said. “A lot of times my shot was falling short. So I had more ice baths to get my legs fresh.”
Robert Morris raced to a 21-8 edge in the first half and led 41-28 at halftime.
While Robert Morris coach Andy Toole was pleased with the quick start and how effective the offense was, he was disappointed with a couple of defensive lapses.
“We had 22 assists on 30 fields goals,” Toole said. “We shoot a high percentage from the field as well as the 3, and we worked for a good shot which helped us shot a high percentage.
“I thought our defensive urgency in the second half needs to be better. ... We exhaled a few times when we built the lead.”
Toole said it was nice Pryor was able to find space to shoot because league opponents had clamped down on him.
“His teammates were finding him and, once he hits his first few, he can really get it going,” Toole said.
FDU (7-13, 2-7) opened the second half on a 7-0 run to trim the lead to 41-35, but the Colonials answered with a 14-2 surge to push the lead to 55-37.
Robert Morris extended its lead to 63-42 before Fairleigh Dickinson made a few runs. But Pryor had the answer and stopped their momentum with clutch shots.
Marcquise Reed had 14 points and five assists for the Colonials, Lucky Jones chipped in with 13 points and Aaron Tate tied his career high with 10 points.
“What's great about Aaron is he has such great knowledge of what we're trying to do offensively,” Toole said. “He knows the open area to get to and he can make you pay when you help off him.”
Marques Townes came off the bench to score 17 for Fairleigh Dickinson, which has dropped seven consecutive games.